Fox Kids (originally known as Fox Children's Network and later as the Fox Kids Network) was an American children's programming block and branding for a slate of international children's television channels. Originally a joint venture between the Fox Broadcasting Company (Fox) and its affiliated stations, it was later owned by Fox Kids Worldwide.
Fox Kids originated as a programming block that aired on the Fox network from September 8, 1990 to September 7, 2002. The block aired on Saturday mornings throughout its existence (Sunday mornings in Canada), with an additional block on Monday through Friday afternoons airing until January 2002. Fox Kids is the only form of daytime television programming, outside of sports, aired by the Fox network to date. Following then-Fox parent News Corporation's sale of Fox Kids Worldwide to The Walt Disney Company in July 2001, Fox put the remaining Saturday morning timeslot up for bidding, with 4Kids Entertainment winning and securing the rights to program that period. The Fox Kids block continued to air in repeats until September 7, 2002, and was replaced the following week (on September 14) by the 4Kids-programmed FoxBox.
Outside the United States, the first Fox Kids-branded television channel launched on October 1, 1995, on Foxtel in Australia. Beginning in 2004, the international channels were gradually relaunched under the Jetix brand following Disney's acquisition of Fox Kids Worldwide.
|Launched||September 8, 1990|
|Closed||September 7, 2002|
(replaced by Fox Box on September 14, 2002)
|Country of origin||United States|
|Owner||Fox Kids Worldwide Inc.|
|Key people||Haim Saban (CEO, Saban Entertainment)|
|Formerly known as|
|Original Language(s)||American English|
According to James B. Stewart's book DisneyWar, Fox Kids' history is intertwined with that of the syndicated children's program block The Disney Afternoon. DuckTales, the series that served as the launching pad for The Disney Afternoon, premiered in syndication in September 1987, airing on Fox's owned-and-operated stations as well as various Fox affiliates in many markets. This may have been due to the fact that the Walt Disney Company's chief operating officer at the time, Michael Eisner, and his then-Fox counterpart, Barry Diller, had worked together at ABC and at Paramount Pictures.
In 1988, Disney purchased independent television station KHJ-TV in Los Angeles, changing its call letters to KCAL-TV the next year. The station's new owners wanted DuckTales to be shown on KCAL, effectively taking the local television rights to the animated series away from Fox-owned KTTV. Furious at the breach of contract, Diller pulled DuckTales from all of Fox's other owned-and-operated stations in the fall of 1989. Diller also encouraged the network's affiliates to do the same, though most did not initially. As Disney went forward in developing The Disney Afternoon, Fox (whose schedule at the time was limited to prime time programming on Saturday and Sunday nights) began the process of launching its own children's programming lineup.
Fox Kids was launched on September 8, 1990, as the Fox Children's Network, a joint venture between the Fox Broadcasting Company and its affiliates. Originally headed by division president Margaret Loesch, its programming aired for 30 minutes per day on Monday through Fridays, and for 3 hours on Saturday mornings.
In September 1991, the block was rebranded as the Fox Kids Network, with its programming expanding to 90 minutes on weekdays and 4 hours on Saturday mornings. The weekday editions of the block grew to 3 hours the following year.
From 1992 to 1998, Fox Kids aired "The Fox Kids T.V. Takeover," a special programming block that aired on Thanksgiving Day that led into the network's NFL coverage or the day after Thanksgiving, since nearly all of American children would be home from school during the holiday break.
By fall of 1992, Fox Kids increased its schedule to 3 hours on Monday through Fridays, airing usually from 2:00 PM to 5:00 PM local time (making Fox the first network to air programming in the 4:00 p.m. hour since 1986), and 4 hours on Saturdays from 8:00 AM to noon Eastern and Pacific Time (7:00 AM to 11:00 AM Central and Mountain). Many stations split the weekday lineup programming into a one-hour block in the morning and a two-hour block in the afternoon (though this varied slightly in some markets), when network programs intertwined with syndicated children's lineups. Other stations aired all three hours combined in the afternoon due to their carriage of local morning newscasts and/or syndicated talk shows; stations that aired such programming in this case had dropped children's programs acquired via the syndication market, moving them to other "independent" stations. Very few Fox stations aired all three hours of the weekday block in the morning.
When Fox Kids launched, virtually all of Fox's owned-and-operated stations and affiliates carried the block, with few (if any) declining to carry it. The first Fox station to drop the block was Miami affiliate WSVN, the network's first station to maintain a news-intensive format, in 1993 (the station had been a Fox affiliate since January 1989 as a result of NBC purchasing and moving its programming to longtime CBS affiliate WTVJ in a three-station ownership and affiliation swap in the Miami market).
The following year, in May 1994, Fox signed a multi-station affiliation agreement with New World Communications to switch that company's CBS, ABC and NBC affiliates to the network between September 1994, and July 1995, in order to improve its affiliate coverage in certain markets after the National Football League (NFL) awarded the network the contract to the National Football Conference television package. Many of the stations owned by New World (which later merged with Fox's then-parent company News Corporation in July 1996) declined to carry the block in order to air syndicated programs aimed at older audiences or local newscasts. In certain cities with an independent station, or beginning with the launches of those networks in January 1995, affiliates of UPN and The WB, Fox contracted the Fox Kids block to air on one of these stations if a Fox owned-and-operated station or affiliate chose not to carry it. In some cases, Fox Kids would be carried on the same station as one of its two competing children's blocks, The WB's Kids' WB and UPN's UPN Kids block (the latter of which was replaced in 1999 by Disney's One Too).
Between 1995 and early 1996, Fox acquired three former ABC-affiliated stations (WHBQ-TV/Memphis, KTVI/St. Louis, and WGHP/High Point). Meanwhile, SF Broadcasting (a joint venture between Savoy Pictures and Fox) acquired three former NBC affiliates and one ABC affiliate during the summer of 1994 (which were later sold to Emmis Communications in 1996). Those stations all aired early evening local newscasts, but wanted to continue to run general entertainment syndicated programming to lead into their news programs instead of cartoons; these stations opted to run Fox Kids one hour early, from 1:00 PM to 4:00 PM. WGHP stopped airing the block in March 1996 after the station agreed to move it to WBFX (which aired the block for the remainder of its run). In August 1995, religious independent station KNLC assumed the rights to Fox Kids from KDNL-TV (which became an ABC affiliate); however, due to the station's decision to air public service messages from its owner's ministry about controversial topics in lieu of local advertisements, Fox pulled the block from KNLC in mid-1996. As a result, KTVI became the only Fox station that was involved in the network's 1994 deal with New World Communications to carry the block.
Much of the Fox Kids lineup's early programming was produced by Warner Bros. Animation, calling Fox Children's Network a "one-stop shop," essentially pulling out of the children's syndication market by signing a $100-million deal with Fox in May 1991. This meant they moved all their existing programming to Fox Kids. Two of Fox Kids' most popular programs, Animaniacs (following a heated dispute with Fox after it ceded the program's timeslot to carry Mighty Morphin Power Rangers, which became one of the block's highest-rated programs when it debuted in 1993) and Batman: The Animated Series, moved to The WB after that network launched in January 1995. Both Animaniacs and Batman served as the linchpin of The WB's new children's block, Kids' WB, when it launched in September of that year (Tiny Toon Adventures, another early Fox Kids program that Warner Bros. produced and also aired on Kids' WB in reruns, had already ended its run).
In 1996, Saban Entertainment acquired a 50% ownership interest in Fox Kids, to form Fox Kids Worldwide Inc., later renamed Fox Family Worldwide. Some of Fox Kids' programming also aired on Fox Family Channel (later known as ABC Family, now Freeform), after News Corporation and Saban acquired the network from International Family Entertainment in 1997.
In 1998, Fox bought out its affiliates' interest in Fox Kids as part of a deal to help pay for the network's NFL package. The Fox Kids weekday block was reduced to two hours, and in an effort to help its affiliates comply with the recently implemented educational programming mandates defined by the Children's Television Act, reruns of former PBS series The Magic School Bus were added to the lineup. In 2000, affiliates were given the option of pushing the block up one hour to air from 2:00 PM to 4:00 PM rather than 3:00 PM to 5:00 PM In the six or so markets where a Fox affiliate carried Fox Kids and carried an early evening newscast at 5:00 PM (such as St. Louis and New Orleans), the station was already running the block an hour early by 1996. Some affiliates (such as WLUK-TV) would tape delay the block to air between 10:00 AM and 1:00 PM, one of the lowest-rated time periods on U.S. television (and when virtually all children 5 years of age and older are at school). A few only aired The Magic School Bus in this sort of graveyard slot as an act of malicious compliance with the Children's Television Act.
By 2001, members of the Fox affiliate board had felt they were on much more even footing with the "Big Three" networks and wanted to take back the time allocated to the Fox Kids programming blocks to air their own programming. Saturday mornings, long the only province of children's programming, had become a liability as the other networks started to extend their weekday morning news programs to weekends.
Fox Kids, which had been the top-rated children's program block among the major networks since 1992, had been overtaken in the ratings by ABC's One Saturday Morning block in 1998, then by Kids' WB a year later with the stronger animation block backed by Warner Bros. that included shows such as Pokémon and Yu-Gi-Oh!. ABC and UPN aired mostly comedy-based cartoons at this time, with the exception of live-action teen-oriented sitcoms Lizzie McGuire and Even Stevens (both originated on Disney Channel as part of what would be a gradual takeover of ABC's Saturday morning lineup by the cable channel's programming), while CBS aired E/I compliant preschool programming from Nick Jr., and NBC was airing teen-oriented sitcoms (later to be replaced the following year by E/I-compliant programming sourced from Discovery Kids), splintering the audience. The added factor of Nickelodeon's aggressive schedule that outrated all of the broadcast networks among children on Saturday mornings left Fox Kids behind, and the programmers could find no way to catch up and stand out in this crowded field. Fox Family, despite good reviews, had a 35% audience decline, which led to Fox Kids Worldwide and Fox Family Worldwide (along with Saban Entertainment) being sold to The Walt Disney Company in 2001.
After Fox Family Worldwide was sold to The Walt Disney Company in July 2001, Fox Kids was placed under the oversight of Fox Television Entertainment and moved its programming operations to Fox's headquarters on the 20th Century Fox studio lot; Fox discontinued daytime children's programming in December 2001, giving the time back to its affiliates. In addition, from September 2001 until the weekday block was discontinued, network flagship stations WNYW and KTTV deferred it to their UPN-affiliated sister stations while continuing to air the block on Saturday mornings. Fox put its children's programming block up for bidding, and 4Kids Entertainment, then-producers of the English dub of Pokémon, purchased the remaining four-hour Saturday time period. Fox Kids maintained a Saturday morning-only schedule until September 7, 2002, a week before it gave the time to 4Kids Entertainment.
Fox Kids was replaced by the 4Kids Entertainment-produced FoxBox on September 14, 2002. The block, renamed 4Kids TV on January 22, 2005, ran until December 27, 2008, marking Fox's complete withdrawal from children's programming. It was not until 2014 that Fox would reverse course and return to children's programming with the launch of a E/I programming block called Xploration Station, which is produced by Steve Rotfeld Productions.
While Fox Kids ended its existence on broadcast television in the United States, Disney instituted a two-hour morning lineup on its newly acquired ABC Family cable channel (known as the "ABC Family Action Block") that was programmed similarly to Fox Kids and featured content originated on the block. Internationally, Disney temporarily retained the Fox Kids brand for the international channels in Europe, Israel and Latin America acquired through the purchase of Fox Kids Worldwide (which became ABC Family Worldwide after the sale was completed). In 2004, Disney began branding its action and adventure programming from the Fox Kids library as Jetix; the new name was first used in the United States on the ABC Family morning block and a new prime-time lineup on Toon Disney.
The Fox Kids brand name is being used again for the web series Fox Kids Movie Challenge, produced by 20th Century Fox for the Fox Family Entertainment YouTube channel since its pending acquisition by The Walt Disney Company in 2018.
In addition to the program block, Fox Kids had its own radio program in the United States, the Fox Kids Radio Countdown. This two-hour broadcast was hosted by Chris Leary of ZDTV and TechTV fame and consisted of contests and gags, with sound effects incorporated throughout the program. It was later renamed as Fox All Access and served primarily as a promotional vehicle for Fox television programs, current artists, and films in its later years, before eventually ending its run in 2012.
4KidsTV (often stylized as "4K!DSTV" and formerly known as FoxBox from 2002 to 2005) is a defunct television programming block and Internet-based video on demand children's network operated by 4Kids Entertainment. It originated as a weekly block on Saturday mornings on the Fox Broadcasting Company, which was created out of a four-year agreement reached on January 22, 2002, between 4Kids Entertainment and Fox to lease the five-hour Saturday morning time slot occupied by the network's existing children's program block, Fox Kids. The 4Kids TV block was part of the Fox network schedule, although it was syndicated to other broadcast television stations in certain markets where a Fox affiliate declined to air it.ABC Family Worldwide
ABC Family Worldwide is a subsidiary of Walt Disney Television that is responsible for the operations of the U.S. cable network Freeform. The company was originally formed as International Family Entertainment, a spin-off of the Christian Broadcasting Network's cable network The Family Channel.
In 1993, IFE acquired the assets of defunct British ITV broadcaster Television South, whose holdings included the library of U.S. studio MTM Enterprises. In 1997, IFE was acquired by News Corporation; the MTM library was melded into 20th Century Fox Television's library, while the remainder was melded into Fox Kids Worldwide (a merger of its Fox Kids unit with Saban Entertainment), to form Fox Family Worldwide. Fox and Saban planned to leverage the popular Fox Kids lineup to turn The Family Channel—which was re-branded as the Fox Family Channel following the purchase—into a competitor to other children's-oriented cable channels such as Cartoon Network and Nickelodeon. The subsidiary also established international Fox Kids networks in Europe and Latin America.
After facing struggling ratings and a failed attempt by Saban to buy out News Corp's stake in the venture, Fox Family Worldwide was later sold to its current owner, The Walt Disney Company, in 2001 for $5.3 billion. The purchase gave Disney ownership of the Fox Family channel (which was subsequently rebranded as ABC Family), the international Fox Kids channels (which were later re-branded as Jetix, and then Disney XD), and rights to the Saban Entertainment library. The subsidiary has since been amalgamated into the Disney–ABC Television Group. Saban Brands bought back the rights to some of the properties it previously held, particularly Power Rangers, but has since been acquired by Hasbro.Disney Channel (Europe)
Disney Channel is a children's television channel owned by Walt Disney Direct-to-Consumer and International broadcast in Romania, Bulgaria and other countries. It was previously known as Fox Kids, then Jetix. There are several variations of the channel which broadcast simultaneously in seven languages (using DVB audio technology): Romanian, English, Bulgarian, Czech, Hungarian, Russian. Advertising is shown in Romanian, Bulgarian, Hungarian, Czech, and Russian.
Disney Channel Central Europe is broadcast in the Czech Republic, Hungary and Slovakia.
Disney Channel Eastern is broadcast in Romania and Bulgaria and has different programming to Disney Central Europe, other variations of Disney Channel were also broadcast in many other regions including ex-Yugoslav countries and formerly Ukraine.Disney XD (Latin America)
Disney XD is a Latin American pay television channel owned by The Walt Disney Company in Latin America and the Caribbean. It is broadcast throughout the region into five feeds, and features animated programs and sitcoms, primarily marketed to kids and teenagers from 6 to 15. It is directly operated by Disney & ESPN Media Networks and The Walt Disney Company Latin America, which are owned by The Walt Disney Company.Disney XD (United Kingdom and Ireland)
Disney XD (formerly Fox Kids and Jetix) is a children's television channel, with programming aimed at children aged 6–15 years old which broadcast on cable and Sky UK. Fox Kids orientated from United States, and was owned by Fox Television Entertainment, before renaming itself to Jetix in 2005.
The British version of Fox Kids was the first European variant before being expanded to other European countries during the late 1990s.Jetix
Jetix (formerly Fox Kids in most countries) is a defunct worldwide children's television programming block owned by Jetix Europe, Jetix Latin America and ABC Cable Networks Group (The Walt Disney Company). The Jetix brand was used for children's blocks and channels featuring action-related and adventure-related live-action and animated programming, most of which had previously aired on Fox Kids, as well as some original programming. In the United States, the block aired on Toon Disney (from 2004–2009) and on ABC Family (from 2004–2006). The Jetix brand (alongside Toon Disney) switched over to Disney XD in 2009 (or Disney Channel in certain European countries) in accordance with the company's focus on its Disney, ABC, and ESPN brands. The last remaining Jetix in the world in Russia, switched over to Disney Channel on August 10, 2010.K2 (TV channel)
K2 is an Italian free-to-air television channel owned by Discovery Networks Europe. Its registered office is in Rome. It launched on 1 October 2004 as an analogue terrestrial television channel managed by the Italian subsidiary of Fox Kids Europe, Fox Kids Italy S.r.l.List of Disney XD TV channels
Disney XD is a brand of children's TV channels owned by The Walt Disney Company. Since its American debut on February 13, 2009, the brand was launched in other markets. The channel was formerly known as Toon Disney and/or Jetix in most areas.List of programs broadcast by Jetix
This is a list of television programs broadcast by Jetix around the world, now known as Disney XD.Little Dracula
Little Dracula is a British series of children's books and an American animated television series that originally aired on FOX. Little Dracula revolves around a green-skinned child vampire who aspires to be like his father, Big Dracula, yet also enjoys rock 'n roll and surfing. Little Dracula also has a monstrous friend named Werebunny, and his Transylvanian family of strange characters is often threatened by the villainous Garlic Man.Monster Rancher (TV series)
Monster Rancher, known in Japan as Monster Farm (モンスターファーム, Monsutā Fāmu), is a 73-episode anime series based on Tecmo's Monster Rancher video game franchise.It originally aired on Japanese television on TBS from April 17, 1999 to September 30, 2001. An English-language version by Bohbot Entertainment and ADV Films aired in North America on Fox Kids and YTV. In Japan, the program existed as two separate series; The Secret of the Stone Disk (円盤石の秘密, Enbanseki no Himitsu) for episodes 1-48 and The Legendary Path (伝説への道, Densetsu e no Michi) for episodes 49-73.Ned's Newt
Ned's Newt is a Canadian/German animated series created by Andy Knight, creator of the Jetix series Get Ed, and Mike Burgess, and is co-produced by Nelvana and TMO Film GmbH in conjunction with Studio B Productions. The program aired on Teletoon from 1997 to 1999. In the United States, the program aired on Fox Kids from 1998. Teletoon Retro aired reruns of all 39 half-hour episodes on September 5, 2011.Pig City
Pig City is a Canadian/French animated television program co-produced with CinéGroupe, AnimaKids, Fox Kids Europe and Red Rover Studios Limited, which originally aired on Teletoon in Canada, ProSieben in Germany, and Fox Kids internationally. It features a country pig (Mikey) moving to the big city to live with his cousins (Martha and Reggie).
Thirty-nine half-hour episodes have been produced, coproduced with AnimaKids (France), and in association with Merchandising München 2001–2003.Power Rangers
Power Rangers is an American entertainment and merchandising franchise built around a live-action superhero television series, based on the Japanese tokusatsu franchise Super Sentai. Produced first by Saban Entertainment, second by BVS Entertainment, later by Saban Brands, and today by SCG Power Rangers and Hasbro, the Power Rangers television series takes much of its footage from the Super Sentai television series, produced by Toei Company. The first Power Rangers entry, Mighty Morphin Power Rangers, debuted on August 28, 1993, and helped launch the Fox Kids programming block of the 1990s, during which it catapulted into popular culture along with a line of action figures and other toys by Bandai. By 2001, the media franchise had generated over $6 billion in toy sales.Despite initial criticism that its action violence targeted child audiences, the franchise has continued, and as of 2017 the show consists of 24 television seasons of 20 different themed series and three theatrical films released in 1995, 1997 and 2017. In 2010, Haim Saban, creator of the series, regained ownership of the franchise after seven years under The Walt Disney Company.
In 2018, Hasbro was named the new master toy licensee. Shortly afterwards, Saban Brands and Hasbro announced that the latter would acquire the franchise and the rest of the former's entertainment assets in a $522 million deal, with the first products from Hasbro becoming available in early 2019.Power Rangers Time Force
Power Rangers Time Force is an American television series and the ninth season of the Power Rangers franchise, based on the Super Sentai series Mirai Sentai Timeranger, running for 40 half-hour episodes from February to November 2001. It was the last full season to completely air on Fox Kids following the sale of Fox Family Worldwide, which included Fox Family, Fox Kids and Saban Entertainment being purchased by The Walt Disney Company. The series is often praised by fans for its narrative, characters, acting and themes.
Originally, a Time Force film was planned, but ultimately went unproduced in light of the commercial failure of Turbo: A Power Rangers Movie and the purchase of the franchise by Disney. However, Buena Vista Home Entertainment did release the series' final four episodes as a film-length home video in 2002 entitled The End of Time. A video game based on the series was released in November 2001 for Sony PlayStation, Game Boy Color, and Game Boy Advance.Power Rangers Wild Force
Power Rangers Wild Force is an American television series and the tenth season and anniversary of the Power Rangers franchise, based on the Super Sentai series Hyakujuu Sentai Gaoranger, which itself was the 25th anniversary of Super Sentai.Power Rangers Wild Force takes place in 2002. The first part of the series was originally broadcast from February to August 2002 on the Fox Kids television block. Following the sale of Fox Family Worldwide (renamed ABC Family Worldwide) including Saban Entertainment (renamed BVS Entertainment) to Disney by Haim Saban and News Corporation, Fox Network's parent company, the show was moved in the fall 2002 to ABC's new Saturday morning block, ABC Kids (formerly Disney's One Saturday Morning on ABC).Saban Entertainment
Saban Entertainment, Inc. (along with Saban International, which operated outside the US; current legal name is BVS Entertainment, Inc.) is a worldwide-served independent American-Israeli television production company formed in 1980 by music and television producers Haim Saban and Shuki Levy as "Saban Productions".
This company was known for importing, dubbing, and adapting several Japanese series such as Maple Town (...Stories), Noozles (Fushigi na Koala Blinky and Pinky), Funky Fables (Video Anime Ehonkan Sekai Meisaku Dowa), Samurai Pizza Cats (Kyatto Ninden Teyande) and the first three Digimon series to North America and international markets for syndication, including both animation and live action shows. Saban is also notable for their various toku adapts of several shows from Toei Company, which include the massively-popular Power Rangers (based on the Super Sentai series), Big Bad Beetleborgs (based on Juukou B-Fighter), VR Troopers (featuring elements of Metal Hero series like Space Sheriff Shaider, Jikuu Senshi Spielban and Choujinki Metalder), and Masked Rider (an original interpretation using scenes from the Japanese Kamen Rider Black RX).
Saban was involved in the co-production of French/American animated shows created by Jean Chalopin for DIC Entertainment. Some of these early 1980s co-productions were Camp Candy, Ulysses 31, Jayce and the Wheeled Warriors, and The Mysterious Cities of Gold (the third of which was a Japanese co-production).
Saban has also distributed and provided music for TV programs produced by other companies, such as The Super Mario Bros. Super Show!, Inspector Gadget and the first 2 dub seasons of Dragon Ball Z.Switchover Media
Switchover Media (SOM) was an Italian broadcaster of television channels. The company first operated as a subsidiary of Netherlands-based broadcaster Jetix Europe to being purchased out by its management and rebranding to Switchover Media in June 2009, to its purchase and folding by Discovery Communications in January 2013.The New Woody Woodpecker Show
The New Woody Woodpecker Show is an American animated television series that was based on the animated film series and others cartoons characters of the same name created by American cartoonist and animator Walter Lantz. It was created by well-known animator Bob Jaques. Jaques directed the first 13 episodes alongside Alan Zaslove, until the 14th episode, where Zaslove becomes the sole director until the end of the series. It was produced by Universal Cartoon Studios and aired on Saturdays from May 8, 1999 until July 27, 2002 on Fox's Fox Kids in the United States. The show aired on YTV in Canada, Network Ten in Australia, e-Junior in the U.A.E., TV3 in New Zealand, Network 2 in Ireland, M-Net in South Africa, Kids Central in Singapore, TV3 in Malaysia and CBBC in the UK.
It is an updated version of The Woody Woodpecker Show with characters from the original series and a few new ones appearing in their own segments, in a manner similar to the original Looney Tunes shorts. Each 22-minute episode consists of three segments, two featuring Woody Woodpecker, and one starring Chilly Willy (or Woody's fellow woodpecker co-stars, Winnie Woodpecker and Knothead & Splinter, which lasted until the third season). Each one have their own supporting casts.
Children's television blocks in the United States